Cricket: Gooch interested in job as chairman

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Graham Gooch emerged as the favourite to be the next chairman of the England selectors yesterday after the other likely candidate, David Graveney, withdrew.

Confirming that he was interested in taking up the position in succession to Ray Illingworth, the 43-year-old former England captain said: "I am contracted to play for Essex next season, but I would have to give the matter serious thought if I was approached to be England's chairman."

Gooch's apparent willingness to give up his long and highly successful playing career indicates the seriousness with which he is considering the potential appointment. "I don't think it is possible to be both a player and serve as chairman," he added.

Graveney made it clear yesterday that he would not be in the running for the position after learning that the Professional Cricketers' Association, of which he is secretary, would not support his candidature.

"I sensed there was not 100 per cent support for me running as chairman, so I'm stepping aside," he said. "My first loyalty is to the PCA - I fully respect their decision."

The role of chairman of selectors is a seen as a full-time job by the authorities and was described as a `high profile, high-pressure' post by a working committee of the Test and County Cricket Board this summer, when they drew up recommendations about how it should operate.

The position will be filled next March when an appointment is made by the England Management Advisory Committee. This committee will be made up of six senior members of the English Cricket Board, which replaces the TCCB as the English game's ruling body on 1 January.

The TCCB's media relations officer, Richard Little, admitted that Gooch would be one of the candidates to succeed Illingworth when the committee announce their decision.

"I am certain that Graham Gooch will be in the running for the chairman of selectors' post," he said. "But then I'm sure certain other people will be in contention as well.

"Six wise men will decide who the job is going to be offered to. It's down to them to decide who they want for the post and then to approach them and offer them the job."

No other name but Gooch is being mentioned at the moment.

England A struggle, page 26